Take a look at 5 products we can’t wait to check out for the 2013/2014 season. Two boots, two bindings and one ski. With SIA and OR coming up, expect us to get our grubby little hands on these shortly…
It is officially trade show season. With it comes ginormous windowless expo buildings, PR folk with zombie-like expressions, scantly clad women peddling products you’ve never heard of and a whole slew of new gear.
Every trade show is full of marketing hype and branding that screams “you must have this” or “this product is game-changing”. But alas, truth is, in this day and age very few products really shift the paradigm of what is possible playing in snow or redefines the use for a piece of gear…despite what the marketing directors say.
With that said, the five products we are stoked on:
Weight is extremely impressive for a binding that is meant to be skiable in all terrain (inbounds included) at around 900 grams (versus the Dukes 2800+ grams.) We’re curious to see how it works in person, as the toe retention value is supposedly fixed. We’ll be sure to get the whole run down at SIA but at least on paper, this thing looks to completely shift the paradigm of touring bindings. Simply, this is the product we’re most excited about. Check out the full press release here.
Product: Fritschi Diamir Zenith 12
Category: Touring Binding
Why We Care: At first glance Fritschi’s foreray into the tech world seems like a Radical/Vertical copy. But upon further inspection, one would notice the touring binding has the addition of toe and heel elasticity allowing for a safer binding, more consistent retention and something that is theoretically skiable in bounds as well as out.
Weight is competitive at 499 grams (about the same as Dynafits 12 “DIN” offerings). Want more information? Lou Dawson’s Wildsnow has the scoop. Check it here.
Product: K2 touring boot line
Why We Care: At first we passed the brand-spankin’ new K2 boot line off as being “done before” and “late entry to the market”. But with the introduction of two tech bindings that are possibly skiable in bounds it became clear the more “beef” tech compatible boots the better.
Looking at the boot more closely, we dug the multiple lasts for each model and rumored smooth-but-stiff flex. Essentially, this sounds like a performance alpine boot purpose-built for freeskiing with tech inserts. Despite the heavier than we hoped for weight and limited touring range we’re still excited to check it out…Full Press Release HERE.
Product: Scarpa Freedom
Why We Care: As noted above, with the introduction of tech bindings that can possibly be utilized in bounds, we care about touring boots that perform just as an alpine boot would. The Scarpa Freedom series claims to be a low volume, skinny lasted, performance oriented, overlap 4-buckle boot boot at a competitive weight with a simple locking mechanism. Plus, any boot that comes stock with an intuition liners and swapable soles that can be skied in a traditional alpine binding gets the nod from the “value” category. The color scheme…well…that’s a “taste” thing.
Editor’s Note: We are well aware of other “beef” touring boots out there, already released, that can drive a big ski through variable conditions. Notably the Technica Cochise line, Dynafit Vulcan line and even the Scarpa Mastraele RS. We are simply excited at more offerings. Competition: Its a good thing.
Product: DPS Spoon (The Production One)
Why We Care: The reverse/reverse/reverse (reverse camber, reverse sidecut and reverse-or convex-base) ski is the only shaping concept that really is new out there. Although this ski isn’t new for this upcoming season, DPS has experimented with a whole bunch of design methodologies to make the 150mm waisted ski manageable in non-soft snow conditions. Being we are yet to see a production version of this ski it made sense to put it in this list. Interesting side note, DPS moved away from their cleat design of last season to a flat under foot base with convexity in the tip and tail which seems far more realistic to us.
As cool as the Spoon appears to be, the real reason we are excited is we’re hoping this sort shaping concept trickles down into their skinnier ski offerings so we can more readily take advantage of it. Nonetheless, its going to be cool to take a look at something that seems “normal” enough to take into our backyard and play with… 5 Second McConkey turns anyone???
Head over to the DPS website for more information.
Over-hyped product pre-show: Rossignol S Series
The Rossignol S7 changed how a lot of people saw soft snow. One of the easiest skis to ski everywhere it’s easy to see the influence this ski has had over the last 5 years. However, Rossignol’s new launch of its S series appears to be a minor refinement of what they had despite all the marketing and product hype. Although we dig the changes we could do without the high volume of marketing and branding buzzwords being shoved down our throat with this one. Yes, it’ll likely be a good product. Yes, it’ll be a tiny bit lighter. But a few grams and some small tweaks doesn’t spell “game-changing” in our book. Selling the audience as such is how marketing works, I get it, but our job is to call out marketing when its just that, marketing. Those with S7s who like them, stick with them. If you like them and need a new pair, well, you might find the new Rossignol stuff to be better…or not. Time will tell. Either way…we’re underwhelmed with this one on paper.
One to Watch: CAST binding systems is the brainchild of FWT competitor Lars Chickering Ayers. The idea is to combine the performance of the renowned Rossignol FKS binding with the ascending prowess of a tech toe. For a select few out there who can’t stand touring on tech bindings and are really getting after it in the backcountry this could be one to look at. One must drill into their alpine toe to accommodation the tech toe which sounds a bit unnerving but if Lars is rocking it, we’re pretty confident it’ll work. We’re interested to see how bad the “fiddle factor” really is with having to swap out your toe piece at the top and utilize rubber bands to keep your brakes up. Again, small market, simple solution. Could be cool…
Missing anything? Am I way off? Tell us!! We are happy to be your eyes and ears at SIA!
Editor’s Note: We incorrectly reported Diamir to be owned by Black Diamond. This is incorrect. Black Diamond is the distributor for Diamir in NA. We have corrected this error and apologize for any confusion this may have caused — JB